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Just Peachy – One Miracle Child’s Story at Children’s Village

With an all-consuming love for the ocean, a free-spirited propensity for adventure, and a knack for problem-solving, Peach Younker, at only six years old, is a force to be reckoned with. Peach’s parents, Justin and Melia, along with her older sister, Coral, can attest that her story, while full of adversity, is one of hope and triumph.

In the earliest stages, Melia’s doctors could tell her pregnancy was atypical. Following a brief period of uncertainty, prenatal diagnostic testing indicated that Baby Younker had Down syndrome. Since her first pregnancy had no complications, Melia and Justin were facing the unknown. The Younkers describe the days following this diagnosis as “three days of big emotions,” a period when they had to resolve previous expectations and prepare for a new reality.

When recalling her pregnancy, Melia explains she tried her hardest to maintain a level of pragmatism. Aware of the potential for heart disorders and mortality, she was terrified of the heartache that could come from forming an attachment. After adjusting her expectations—Melia acknowledged she was all in. She told her unborn baby, “Listen kid, you have to hold it together. Because I’m all in, so you better be too.” And thus began Peach’s fierce persistence and tendency to defy the odds.

From the moment Peach was born, Justin and Melia remember being in awe of Memorial’s staff. From the doctors to the nurses, no one at the hospital made their situation seem like a big deal—Peach’s condition was a nonissue, and the Younkers were touched by how beautifully everything was handled.

Shortly after Peach’s birth, the Younkers were introduced to Parent to Parent, a support group at Children’s Village, and enrolled in an eight-week course for parents who have received a new diagnosis for their child.

As Justin and Melia immediately utilized the resources Children’s Village had to offer parents, Peach joined many of their patient programs and therapies, including occupational, water, speech, music, behavioral, and eating therapies.

“It was so nice to have all of these resources right here in our community,” said Melia. “We didn’t have to drive all the way to Seattle for each appointment, and the people at Children’s Village made us feel so welcome.”

Through Children’s Village, the Younker family not only had access to incredible programs and treatments for Peach, but they were able to find a community that loved and supported them. Melia and Justin found other parents who were going through similar experiences, and they were able to create a network of relationships built on that understanding.

“We’re so thankful for what we have,” said Justin. “We’re so fortunate to have gotten involved with the Children’s Village staff and other families. It has really brought some perspective to our experiences and taught us to enjoy every moment with Peach and Coral.”

Children’s Village is here to serve our community’s children who need extra attention and care for numerous reasons. The Memorial Foundation is honored to be able to support some of the services and families at Children’s Village thanks to the passion and dedication of our donors. Stories like Peach’s are thanks to the unending love from her family, the strength of the Children’s Village team, and the support of the Yakima community.